Weekly Roundup: 22 Feb 2015

The world keeps moving faster and faster. It’s increasingly hard to filter out the most important 'signals from the noise' with the time we have available. Below is a summary of the most interesting and relevant topics that have passed through my signal filter over the past week.

Do you know what a Product Manager is, and how they operate in a technology business? Product Management sits at the intersection of engineering, marketing, research and project management, with the goal of creating great, habitual products that people love to use. 

The team at Intercom have created a fantastic e-Book that dives deep into this role, showcasing their development frameworks, and adding in a bunch of learnings and ideas to apply to your own product or platform. Even if you are not currently a product person or in a startup or tech business, this is a great read on explaining how technology is re-inventing the way we create things.

Right now we have a pretty clear definition of what strategy is - but one of the biggest hurdles still remains translating a strategy into results through execution. Donald Sull, Rebecca Homkes and Charles Sull outline some of the biggest myths about executing strategy, and how to solve this problem by fostering coordination across units and building the agility to adapt to changing conditions.

Tech can get pretty messy, especially if you want to see how current technologies have evolved over time. Quartz have created a great interactive map of the most influential products in the fields of electronics and communications, and how they have intersected and adapted over time.

With the Apple Watch launch on the horizon, press coverage is about to hit a frenzied pace as pundits race to make predictions around this potentially revolutionary product.

Firstly, if you want to understand how the watch will work, the best place to start might be with the people making the apps. Fast Company interview some of the developers and showcase some of the more interesting features.

Next, with the launch of any new platform, the race is on to create the first killer app. Andrew Chen explains this concept through the lens of 'The Law of Shitty Clickthroughs' - that the aggregate performance of any channel goes down over time due to increased competition, spam and customer fatigue. First movers to shiny new channels often get big advantages.

The New Yorker have written a very detailed piece on Jonathan Ive, and how he has led the development of Apple's intuitive and beautiful product design. Some great insights into the decisions around the Apple Watch, and what other innovations may be on the horizon. 

Lastly, Apple have in some ways proven that Clayton Christiensen's theory of low-end disruption may be flawed. A key to this has been the focus on making products that are modular, competing in huge markets, and creating an entirely new class of services that mix integration and modularization. With the watch on the horizon, this article explains the entire Apple ecosystem in detail, and just how big this thing can get.

The narrative around being data focused versus design focused tends to pit these views as two black or white extremes. The reality is, there is a lot of grey in the middle. Mike Greenfield has a great article 'Design vs Darwinism. Data vs Darkness' that explores this topic, with a great framework for thinking about being data and design led.

Sometimes you have to go down before you go back up. The Impact Trap, and how to avoid it so you can unleash your full potential.

Some fun to finish. Saturday Night Live had their 40th Anniversary Special. By far the best sketch over the years was Celebrity Jeopardy - the cast get back together to give it one last spin.